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    ex cathedra — exhumation (n.)

    ex cathedra

    Latin, literally "from the (teacher's) chair," from ex "out of" (see ex-) + cathedra (see cathedral). A verb, excathedrate, was formed by 1640s.ETD ex cathedra.2

    excavation (n.)

    1610s, "action of excavating," from Latin excavationem (nominative excavatio) "a hollowing out," noun of action from past-participle stem of excavare "to hollow out" (see excavate). Meaning "an excavated place" is from 1779.ETD excavation (n.).2

    excavate (v.)

    "to hollow out, make hollow by digging or scooping, or by removing extraneous matter," 1590s, from Latin excavatus, past participle of excavare "to hollow out," from ex "out" (see ex-) + cavare "to hollow, hollow out," from cavus "cave" (from PIE root *keue- "to swell," also "vault, hole"). Related: Excavated; excavating. Cockeram's "English Dictionarie" (1623) has a verb excave "to hollow."ETD excavate (v.).2

    exceed (v.)

    late 14c., exceden, "to go beyond," from Old French exceder (14c.) "exceed, surpass, go too far," from Latin excedere "depart, go beyond, be in excess, surpass," from ex "out" (see ex-) + cedere "to go, yield" (from PIE root *ked- "to go, yield"). Related: Exceeded; exceeding. Exceedingly (late 15c.) means "very greatly or very much;" excessively (mid-15c.) means "too greatly or too much."ETD exceed (v.).2

    excel (v.)

    c. 1400, transitive, "to surpass, be superior to;" early 15c., intransitive, "be remarkable for superiority, surpass others," from Latin excellere "to rise, surpass, be superior, be eminent," from ex "out from" (see ex-) + -cellere "rise high, tower," related to celsus "high, lofty, great," from PIE root *kel- (2) "to be prominent; hill." Related: Excelled; excelling.ETD excel (v.).2

    excellent (adj.)

    "unexcelled, distinguished for superior merit of any kind, of surpassing character or quality, uncommonly valuable for any reason, remarkably good," mid-14c., from Old French excellent "outstanding, excellent," from Latin excellentem (nominative excellens) "towering, prominent, distinguished, superior, surpassing," present participle of excellere "surpass, be superior; to rise, be eminent," from ex "out from" (see ex-) + -cellere "rise high, tower," related to celsus "high, lofty, great," from PIE root *kel- (2) "to be prominent; hill." Related: Excellently.ETD excellent (adj.).2

    excellency (n.)

    "high rank," c. 1200, from Latin excellentia "superiority, excellence," from excellentem (see excellent); as a title of honor it dates from early 14c.ETD excellency (n.).2

    excellence (n.)

    mid-14c., "superiority, greatness, distinction" in anything, from Old French excellence, from Latin excellentia "superiority, excellence," from excellentem (nominative excellens) "towering, distinguished, superior," present participle of excellere "surpass, be superior; to rise, be eminent," from ex "out from" (see ex-) + -cellere "rise high, tower," related to celsus "high, lofty, great," from PIE root *kel- (2) "to be prominent; hill." From late 14c. as "mark or trait of superiority, that in which something or someone excels."ETD excellence (n.).2


    Latin excelsior "higher," comparative of excelsus (adj.) "high, elevated, lofty," past participle of excellere "to rise, surpass, be superior, be eminent," from ex "out from" (see ex-) + -cellere "rise high, tower," related to celsus "high, lofty, great," from PIE root *kel- (2) "to be prominent; hill." Taken 1778 as motto of New York State, where it apparently was mistaken for an adverb. Popularized 1841 as title of a poem by Longfellow. As a trade name for "thin shavings of soft wood used for stuffing cushions, etc.," first recorded 1868, American English.ETD excelsior.2

    except (v.)

    late 14c., excepten, "to receive," from Old French excepter (12c.), from Latin exceptus, past participle of excipere "to take out, withdraw; make an exception, reserve," from ex "out" (see ex-) + capere "to take," from PIE root *kap- "to grasp." Meaning "to leave out" is from 1510s. Related: Excepted; excepting. Adjectival function led to use as a preposition, conjunction (late 14c.).ETD except (v.).2

    exceptional (adj.)

    1828, "out of the ordinary course, forming an exception, unusual," from exception + -al (1). Related: Exceptionally.ETD exceptional (adj.).2

    Exceptionalism "fact or quality of being exceptional" in some way, usually implying superiority to the unexceptional, is attested from 1864; the phrase American exceptionalism is attested by 1929, originally among communists, in reference to the argument about whether the United States is in some sense not subject to the historical rules of Marxism. It has been used in other ways since, often implying (and implicitly criticizing) a belief that the U.S. is somehow uniquely virtuous. Other noun forms include exceptionalness (1868), exceptionality (1851).ETD exceptional (adj.).3

    exception (n.)

    late 14c., excepcioun, "the act or fact of leaving out or the excluding of" from the scope of some rule or condition, from Anglo-French excepcioun (late 13c. in a legal sense, "formal objection or protest entered by a defendant"), Old French excepcion, from Latin exceptionem (nominative exceptio) "an exception, restriction, limitation; an objection," noun of action from past-participle stem of excipere "to take out" (see except).ETD exception (n.).2

    From c. 1400 as "a reservation or exemption;" from late 15c. as "something that is excepted." The figure of speech in to take exception "find fault with, disapprove" is from excipere being used in Roman law as a modern attorney would say objection.ETD exception (n.).3

    The exception that proves the rule is from law: exceptio probat regulam, short for exceptio probat regulam in casibus non exceptis, "the exception proves the rule in cases not excepted," also given in other similar wordings, said to be from Cicero. Exception here is "action of excepting" someone or something, not the person or thing that is excepted, and prove is "put (the rule) to the test, examine the truth of."ETD exception (n.).4

    An item in "Notes & Queries" [F.C. Birkbeck Terry, July 1, 1893] points out the legalese origin, adding, "But scientific exactness now treats the question in another way." The shift was noted by the Rev. H. Percy Smith ("Glossary of Terms and Phrases," 1885), who defined the common understanding of exception proves the rule as "the fact of there being an exception proves the existence of a rule," or "an exception is essential to every rule."ETD exception (n.).5

    But Smith noted that, properly, it means, "A special exception to a rule proves it to hold concerning things not specially excepted."ETD exception (n.).6

    exceptionable (adj.)

    "liable to objection, that may be objected to, objectionable," 1660s (implied in exceptionableness), from exception (in the take exception to sense) + -able. Related: Exceptionably. Compare objectionable.ETD exceptionable (adj.).2

    excerpt (n.)

    "an extract from a written or printed work," 1630s, from Latin excerptum "an extract, selection," noun use of neuter past participle of excerpere "to extract" (see excerpt (v.)). Related: excerpts.ETD excerpt (n.).2

    excerpt (v.)

    "to take or cull out" a passage in a written or printed work, "select, cite, extract," early 15c. (implied in past participle excerpte "taken from a book"), from Latin excerptus, past participle of excerpere "pluck out, pick out, extract," figuratively "choose, select, gather," also "to leave out, omit," from ex "out" (see ex-) + carpere "pluck, gather," from PIE root *kerp- "to gather, pluck, harvest." Related: Excerpted; excerpting.ETD excerpt (v.).2

    excessive (adj.)

    "exceeding the usual or proper limit, degree, measure, or proportion; going beyond what is sanctioned by correct principles; immoderate; extravagant; unreasonable;" late 14c., from Old French excessif "excessive, oppressive," from Latin excess-, past-participle stem of excedere "to depart, go beyond" (see exceed). Related: Excessively; excessiveness.ETD excessive (adj.).2

    excess (n.)

    "a going beyond ordinary, necessary, or proper limits; superfluity; undue indulgence of appetite, want of restraint in gratifying the desires; the amount by which one number or quantity exceeds another," late 14c., from Old French exces (14c.) "excess, extravagance, outrage," from Latin excessus "departure, a going beyond the bounds of reason or beyond the subject," from stem of excedere "to depart, go beyond," from ex "out" (see ex-) + cedere "to go, yield" (from PIE root *ked- "to go, yield"). As an adjective, "beyond what is necessary, proper, or right," from late 15c.ETD excess (n.).2

    exchange (n.)

    late 14c., eschaunge, "act of reciprocal giving and receiving," from Anglo-French eschaunge, Old French eschange (Modern French échange), from Late Latin excambium, from excambiare, from Latin ex "out" (see ex-) + cambire "barter" (see change (v.)). The practice of merchants or lenders meeting at certain places to exchange bills of debt led to the meaning "building for mercantile business" (1580s).ETD exchange (n.).2

    exchange (v.)

    late 15c. (Caxton), in commerce, "to part with in return for some equivalent, transfer for a recompense, barter," from Old French eschangier "exchange, barter" (Modern French échanger), from Vulgar Latin *excambiare (source of Italian scambiare); see exchange (n.). Non-commercial sense of "to give and receive reciprocally" is from c. 1600. Related: Exchanged; exchanging.ETD exchange (v.).2

    exchequer (n.)

    c. 1300, "a chessboard, checkerboard," from Anglo-French escheker "a chessboard," from Old French eschequier, from Medieval Latin scaccarium "chess board" (see check (n.1); also see checker (n.2)). The governmental sense of "department of the royal household concerned with the receipt, custody, and disbursement of revenue and with judicial determination of certain causes affecting crown revenues" began under the Norman kings of England and refers to a cloth divided in squares that covered a table on which accounts of revenue were reckoned by using counters, and which reminded people of a chess board. Respelled with an -x- based on the mistaken belief that it originally was a Latin ex- word.ETD exchequer (n.).2

    excise (n.)

    "tax on goods," late 15c., from Middle Dutch excijs (early 15c.), apparently altered from accijs "tax" (by influence of Latin excisus "cut out or removed," see excise (v.)), traditionally from Old French acceis "tax, assessment" (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *accensum, ultimately from Latin ad "to" (see ad-) + census "tax, census" (see census). English got the word, and the idea for the tax, from Holland.ETD excise (n.).2

    excise (v.)

    "cut out," 1570s, from French exciser, from Latin excisus, past participle of excidere "cut out, cut down, cut off; destroy," from ex "out" (see ex-) + -cidere, combining form of caedere "to cut down" (from PIE root *kae-id- "to strike"). Related: Excised; excising.ETD excise (v.).2

    excision (n.)

    "the act of full or partial cutting off or away by surgical operation," especially of a small, diseased part of the body, late 15c. (Caxton), from Old French excision (14c.) and directly from Latin excisionem (nominative excisio) "a destroying," noun of action from past-participle stem of excidere "to cut out; destroy," from ex "out" (see ex-) + -cidere, combining form of caedere "to cut down" (from PIE root *kae-id- "to strike").ETD excision (n.).2

    excite (v.)

    mid-14c., exciten, "to move, stir up, instigate," from Old French esciter (12c.) or directly from Latin excitare "rouse, call out, summon forth, produce," frequentative of exciere "call forth, instigate," from ex "out" (see ex-) + ciere "set in motion, call" (from PIE root *keie- "to set in motion"). Of feelings, "to stir up, rouse," from late 14c. Of bodily organs or tissues, from 1831. Sense of "rouse the emotions of, emotionally agitate" is attested from 1821.ETD excite (v.).2

    exciting (adj.)

    1811, "causing disease," present-participle adjective from excite (v.). Sense of "causing excitement" is from 1826. Related: Excitingly.ETD exciting (adj.).2

    excitation (n.)

    late 14c., excitacioun, "act of rousing to action; instigation, incitement; state of being excited," from Old French excitation, from Late Latin excitationem (nominative excitatio), noun of action from past-participle stem of excitare "to call out, wake, rouse, stir up" (see excite).ETD excitation (n.).2

    excitement (n.)

    early 15c., "encouragement;" c. 1600, "something that tends to excite," from excite + -ment. Meaning "condition of mental and emotional agitation" is from 1846.ETD excitement (n.).2

    excitable (adj.)

    "susceptible or prone to excitement, capable of being excited, easily stirred up or stimulated," c. 1600, from excite + -able. Late Latin had excitabilis, but it meant "inciting, animating." Related: Excitably; excitability.ETD excitable (adj.).2

    excited (adj.)

    1650s, "magnetically or electrically stimulated;" the main modern sense of "agitated" is attested by 1855; past-participle adjective from excite. Related: Excitedly.ETD excited (adj.).2

    exclaim (v.)

    "to cry out, speak with vehemence, make a loud outcry in words," 1560s, a back-formation from exclamation or else from French exclamer (16c.), from Latin exclamare "cry out loud, call out," from ex "out," perhaps here an intensive prefix (see ex-), + clamare "cry, shout, call" (from PIE root *kele- (2) "to shout"). Spelling influenced by claim. Related: Exclaimed; exclaiming.ETD exclaim (v.).2

    exclamation (n.)

    late 14c., exclamacioun, "a calling or crying aloud; that which is uttered with emphasis or passion, a vehement speech or saying," from Latin exclamationem (nominative exclamatio) "an exclamation" (in rhetoric), "a loud calling or crying out," noun of action from past-participle stem of exclamare "cry out loud" (see exclaim).ETD exclamation (n.).2

    The punctuation symbol known as the exclamation point (1824) or exclamation mark (1926) was earliest called an exclamation note or note of exclamation (1650s); Shakespeare has note of admiration (1611). Another name for it was shriek-mark (1864). The mark itself is said to date to c. 1400 among writers in Italy and to represent the Latin io!, an exclamation of delight or triumph, written with the -i- above the -o-.ETD exclamation (n.).3

    exclamatory (adj.)

    "using, containing, or expressing exclamation," 1590s, from Latin exclamat-, past-participle stem of exclamare "to call out" (see exclaim) + -ory.ETD exclamatory (adj.).2

    exclude (v.)

    "to shut out, debar from admission or participation, prevent from entering or sharing," mid-14c., from Latin excludere "keep out, shut out, hinder," from ex "out" (see ex-) + claudere "to close, shut" (see close (v.)). Related: Excluded; excluding.ETD exclude (v.).2

    exclusive (adj.)

    mid-15c., "so as to exclude;" 1560s, "that excludes," from Medieval Latin exclusivus, from exclus-, past participle stem of excludere (see exclude). Of monopolies, rights, franchises, etc., from 1760s; of social circles, clubs, etc., "unwilling to admit outsiders," from 1822. Related: Exclusively; exclusiveness.ETD exclusive (adj.).2

    exclusion (n.)

    "act of shutting out; non-inclusion," c. 1400, exclusioun, from Latin exclusionem (nominative exclusio) "a shutting out," noun of action from past-participle stem of excludere "keep out, shut out," from ex "out" (see ex-) + claudere "to close, shut" (see close (v.)).ETD exclusion (n.).2

    exclusivity (n.)

    "state of being exclusive," 1926, from exclusive + -ity. Exclusiveness is from 1730; exclusivism is from 1834.ETD exclusivity (n.).2

    exclusionary (adj.)

    "tending to exclude," 1817, from exclusion + -ary.ETD exclusionary (adj.).2

    excommunication (n.)

    "a cutting off or casting out from communication, deprivation of communion or the privileges of intercourse," specifically the formal exclusion of a person from religious communion and privileges, mid-15c., from Late Latin excommunicationem (nominative excommunicatio), noun of action from past-participle stem of excommunicare "put out of the community," in Church Latin "to expel from communion," from ex "out" (see ex-) + communicare "to share, communicate," related to communis "common" (see common (adj.)).ETD excommunication (n.).2

    excommunicate (v.)

    "to cut off by an ecclesiastical sentence either from the sacraments of the church or from all fellowship and intercourse with its members," early 15c., from Late Latin excommunicatus, past participle of excommunicare "put out of the community," in Church Latin "to expel from communion," from ex "out" (see ex-) + communicare "to share, communicate," related to communis "common" (see common (adj.)). Related: Excommunicated; excommunicating.ETD excommunicate (v.).2

    excoriate (v.)

    "to flay, strip off the skin of, to break and remove the outer layers of the skin in any manner," early 15c., from Late Latin excoriatus, past participle of excoriare "flay, strip off the hide," from Latin ex "out, out of, off" (see ex-) + corium "hide, skin" (see corium). Figurative sense of "denounce, censure" is recorded in English by 1708. Related: Excoriated; excoriating.ETD excoriate (v.).2

    excoriation (n.)

    "act of flaying, operation of stripping off the skin," hence "act or process of abrading, removal of the outer layers of the skin," mid-15c., excoriacioun, from Medieval Latin excoriationem (nominative excoriatio), noun of action from past-participle stem of Late Latin excoriare (see excoriate).ETD excoriation (n.).2

    excrement (n.)

    1530s, "waste discharged from the body," from Latin excrementum, from stem of excretus, past participle of excernere "to sift out, discharge," from ex "out" (see ex-) + cernere "sift, separate" (from PIE root *krei- "to sieve," thus "discriminate, distinguish"). Originally any bodily secretion, especially from the bowels; exclusive sense of "feces" is since mid-18c. Related: Excremental; excrementitious.ETD excrement (n.).2

    excrescence (n.)

    early 15c., "action of growing out," from Latin excrescentia (plural) "abnormal growths," from excrescentem (nominative excrescens), present participle of excrescere "grow out, grow up," from ex "out" (see ex-) + crescere "to grow" (from PIE root *ker- (2) "to grow"). Meaning "that which grows out abnormally" (on a living thing) is from 1570s (excrescency in this sense is 1540s).ETD excrescence (n.).2

    excrescent (adj.)

    mid-15c., "resulting from addition, greater," from Latin excrescentem (nominative excrescens), present participle of excrescere "grow out, grow up," from ex "out" (see ex-) + crescere "to grow" (from PIE root *ker- (2) "to grow"). From c. 1600 as "growing out of something else," especially abnormally or superfluously.ETD excrescent (adj.).2

    excretion (n.)

    c. 1600, "action of excreting;" 1620s, "that which is excreted," from French excrétion (16c.), from Latin excretionem (nominative excretio), noun of action from past-participle stem of excernere "to sift out, separate" (see excrement).ETD excretion (n.).2

    excrete (v.)

    "to throw out or eliminate," specifically "to eliminate from an body by a process of secretion and discharge," 1610s, from Latin excretus, past participle of excernere "to sift out, discharge," from ex "out" (see ex-) + cernere "sift, separate" (from PIE root *krei- "to sieve," thus "discriminate, distinguish"). Related: Excreted; excreting.ETD excrete (v.).2

    excretory (adj.)

    "pertaining to excretion," 1680s, from excrete + -ory.ETD excretory (adj.).2

    excruciating (adj.)

    "extremely painful," 1590s, present-participle adjective from excruciate. Related: Excruciatingly.ETD excruciating (adj.).2

    excruciate (v.)

    "to torture, torment, inflict very severe pain on," as if by crucifying, 1560s, from Latin excruciatus, past participle of excruciare "to torture, torment, rack, plague;" figuratively "to afflict, harass, vex, torment," from ex "out, out from; thoroughly" (see ex-) + cruciare "cause pain or anguish to," literally "crucify," from crux (genitive crucis) "a cross" (see crux).ETD excruciate (v.).2

    exculpation (n.)

    "the act of exonerating from a charge of fault or crime; vindication," 1715, noun of action from exculpate.ETD exculpation (n.).2

    exculpate (v.)

    "to clear from suspicion of wrong or guilt," 1650s, from Medieval Latin exculpatus, past participle of exculpare, from Latin ex culpa, from ex "out of" (see ex-) + culpa ablative of culpa "blame, fault." Related: Exculpated; exculpating.ETD exculpate (v.).2

    exculpatory (adj.)

    "fitted or intended to clear from a charge of fault or guilt; exonerating, excusing," 1779, from exculpate + -ory.ETD exculpatory (adj.).2

    excursion (n.)

    1570s, "a deviation in argument," also "a military sally," from Latin excursionem (nominative excursio) "a running forth, sally, excursion, expedition," figuratively "an outset, opening," noun of action from past-participle stem of excurrere "run out, run forth, hasten forward; project, extend," from ex "out" (see ex-) + currere "to run" (from PIE root *kers- "to run"). Sense of "journey" recorded in English by 1660s.ETD excursion (n.).2

    excusable (adj.)

    "pardonable, deserving to be excused," late 14c., from Old French escusable, from Latin excusabilis, from excusare "to excuse, make an excuse for" (see excuse (v.)). Related: Excusably.ETD excusable (adj.).2

    excuse (v.)

    mid-13c., "attempt to clear (someone) from blame, find excuses for," from Old French escuser (12c., Modern French excuser) "apologize, make excuses; pardon, exonerate," from Latin excusare "excuse, apologize, make an excuse for, plead as an excuse; release from a charge; decline, refuse, excuse the refusal of" (source also of Spanish excusar, Italian scusare), from ex "out, away" (see ex-) + causa "accusation, legal action" (see cause (n.)).ETD excuse (v.).2

    Sense of "forgive, pardon, accept another's plea of excuse" is from early 14c. Meaning "to obtain exemption or release from an obligation or duty; beg to be excused" is from mid-14c. in English, as is the sense "defend (someone or something) as right." Sense of "serve as justification for" is from 1530s. Related: Excused; excusing. Excuse me as a mild apology or statement of polite disagreement is from c. 1600.ETD excuse (v.).3

    excuse (n.)

    late 14c., "pretext, justification," from Old French excuse, from excuser "apologize, make excuses" (see excuse (v.)). The sense of "that which serves as a reason for being excused" is recorded from mid-15c. As a noun, excusation is the earlier form (mid-14c.).ETD excuse (n.).2

    excusatory (adj.)

    "making excuse; containing an excuse or apology, apologetical," mid-15c., from Old French excusatoire, from Medieval Latin excusatorius, from Latin excusare "excuse, make an excuse for" (see excuse (v.)).ETD excusatory (adj.).2

    execration (n.)

    late 14c., "cursing, act of laying under a curse," from Latin execrationem (nominative execratio) "malediction, curse," noun of action from past-participle stem of execrari "to hate, curse," from ex "out" (see ex-) + sacrare "to devote to holiness or to destruction, consecrate," from sacer "sacred" (see sacred). From 1560s as "an uttered curse."ETD execration (n.).2

    execrate (v.)

    "to curse, imprecate evil upon," hence "to detest utterly, abominate," 1560s, from Latin execratus/exsecratus, past participle of execrari/exsecrari "to curse, utter a curse, take a solemn oath with imprecations; hate, abhor," from ex "out" (see ex-) + sacrare "to devote to" (see sacred). Hence, "to devote off or away; to curse." Compare consecrate. Related: Execrated; execrating.ETD execrate (v.).2

    execrable (adj.)

    "abominable, deserving of curses," late 14c., from Old French execrable and directly from Latin execrabilis/exsecrabilis "execrable, accursed," from execrari/exsecrari "to curse; to hate" (see execrate). Related: Execrably.ETD execrable (adj.).2

    executive (adj.)

    1640s, "capable of performance" (a sense now obsolete), also "of the branch of government that carries out the laws," from Latin executivus, from past participle stem of exequi "follow after; carry out, accomplish" (see execution). The sense of "concerned with or pertaining to the function of carrying into practical effect" is from 1670s. The noun meaning "person or persons invested with supreme executive power in a country" is from 1776, as a branch of government charged with the execution and enforcement of the laws. Meaning "high-ranking businessman, person holding an executive position in a business organization" is by 1902 in American English; hence the adjectival sense "stylish, luxurious, costly" (1970s). Executive privilege in reference to the U.S. president is attested by 1805, American English.ETD executive (adj.).2

    execution (n.)

    late 14c., "a carrying out, a putting into effect; enforcement; performance (of a law, statute, etc.), the carrying out (of a plan, etc.)," from Anglo-French execucioun (late 13c.), Old French execucion "a carrying out" (of an order, etc.), from Latin executionem (nominative executio) "an accomplishing," noun of action from past-participle stem of exequi/exsequi "to follow out" (see execute).ETD execution (n.).2

    Specific sense of "act of putting to death" (mid-14c.) is from Middle English legal phrases such as don execution of deth "carry out a sentence of death." Literal meaning "action of carrying something into effect" is from late 14c. John McKay, coach of the woeful Tampa Bay Buccaneers (U.S. football team), when asked by a reporter what he thought of his team's execution, replied, "I think it would be a good idea." Executor and executioner were formerly used indifferently, because both are carrying out legal orders.ETD execution (n.).3

    execute (v.)

    late 14c. "to carry into effect" (transitive, mostly in law with reference to warrants, sentences, etc.), also "carry out or accomplish a course of action" (intransitive), from Old French executer (14c.), from Medieval Latin executare, from Latin execut-/exsecut-, past participle stem of exequi/exsequi "to follow out, to follow to the grave," figuratively "to follow, follow after, accompany, follow up, prosecute, carry out, enforce; execute, accomplish; punish, avenge," from ex- "out" (see ex-) + sequi "follow" (from PIE root *sekw- (1) "to follow"). Meaning "to inflict capital punishment" is from late 15c., from earlier legal sense "perform judgment or sentence on" (early 15c.). Related: Executed; executing.ETD execute (v.).2

    executioner (n.)

    "headsman," 1560s; "one who carries into effect," 1590s; agent noun from execution. Old English words for it included flæscbana, flæscwellere.ETD executioner (n.).2

    executor (n.)

    c. 1300, "person appointed to see that a will is carried into effect," from Anglo-French executour, from Latin executorem/exsecutorem, agent noun from exsequi/exsequi "follow after; carry out, accomplish" (see execution). Fem. form executrix is attested from late 14c. (executrice).ETD executor (n.).2

    Compare executioner, and also executant "one who does or performs" (especially a musical performer), from 1858; executer "one who performs" (1530s).ETD executor (n.).3

    exegesis (n.)

    1610s, "explanatory note," from Greek exegesis "explanation, interpretation," from exegeisthai "explain, interpret," from ex "out" (see ex-) + hegeisthai "to lead, guide," from PIE root *sag- "to track down, seek out" (see seek (v.)). Meaning "exposition (of Scripture)" is from 1823. Related: Exegetic; exegetical; exegetically.ETD exegesis (n.).2

    exegete (n.)

    "one who expounds or interprets a literary production," 1730s, from Greek exegetes "an expounder, interpreter" (especially of the Bible), from exegeisthai (see exegesis).ETD exegete (n.).2

    exemplar (n.)

    late 14c., "original model of the universe in the mind of God," later (mid-15c.) "model of virtue," from Old French exemplaire (14c.) and directly from Late Latin exemplarium, from Latin exemplum "a copy, pattern, model" (see example). Related: Exemplarily.ETD exemplar (n.).2

    exemplary (adj.)

    1580s, "fit to be an example," from French exemplaire, from Late Latin exemplaris "that serves as an example, pattern, or motto," from exemplum "example, pattern, model" (see example). Earlier (early 15c.) as a noun meaning "a model of conduct," from Late Latin exemplarium.ETD exemplary (adj.).2

    exemplification (n.)

    mid-15c., exemplificacioun, "illustration or demonstration by example," from Anglo-French exemplificacion "attested copy or transcript of a document" (late 14c.) and directly from Medieval Latin exemplificationem (nominative exemplificatio), noun of action from past-participle stem of exemplificare "to illustrate" (see exemplify). Holinshed had a back-formation exemplificate.ETD exemplification (n.).2

    exemplify (v.)

    early 15c., exemplifien, "to illustrate or demonstrate by examples, to instruct by (good) example, be or serve as a model (of conduct)," good or bad, from Medieval Latin exemplificare "to illustrate," from Latin exemplum "example, pattern, model" (see example). Meaning "to serve as an example" is recorded from 1793. Related: Exemplified; exemplifies; exemplifying.ETD exemplify (v.).2

    exemption (n.)

    c. 1400, exempcioun, "immunity from a law or statute, state of being free from some undesirable requirement," from Old French exemption, exencion or directly from Latin exemptionem (nominative exemptio) "a taking out, removing," noun of action from past-participle stem of eximere "remove, take out, take away; free, release, deliver, make an exception of," from ex "out" (see ex-) + emere "buy," originally "take," from PIE root *em- "to take, distribute."ETD exemption (n.).2

    exempt (adj.)

    late 14c., "not subject to (a rule, law, authority, etc.)," from Old French exempt (13c.) and directly from Latin exemptus, past participle of eximere "remove, take out, take away; free, release, deliver, make an exception of," from ex "out" (see ex-) + emere "to buy," originally "to take," from PIE root *em- "to take, distribute." Also in Middle English in a more general sense, "taken away, cut off (from), removed (from)."ETD exempt (adj.).2

    exempt (v.)

    c. 1400, exempten, "to relieve, to free or permit to be free" (from some requirement or condition, usually undesirable), from Anglo-French exempter, from exempt (adj.); see exempt (adj.). Related: Exempted; exempting.ETD exempt (v.).2

    exercise (n.)

    mid-14c., "condition of being in active operation; practice for the sake of training," from Old French exercice (13c.) "exercise, execution of power; physical or spiritual exercise," from Latin exercitium "training, physical exercise" (of soldiers, horsemen, etc.); "play;" in Medieval Latin also of arts, from exercitare, frequentative of exercere "keep busy, keep at work, oversee, engage busily; train, exercise; practice, follow; carry into effect; disturb, disquiet," from ex "off" (see ex-) + arcere "keep away, prevent; contain, enclose," from PIE *ark- "to hold, contain, guard" (see arcane).ETD exercise (n.).2

    The original notion in the Latin verb is obscure. Meaning "physical activity for fitness, etc." first recorded in English late 14c. Also from late 14c. as "a carrying out of an action; a doing or practicing; a disciplinary task." In reference to written schoolwork from early 17c. The ending was abstracted for formations such as dancercise (1967); jazzercise (1977); and boxercise (1985).ETD exercise (n.).3

    exercise (v.)

    late 14c., "to employ, put into active use," from exercise (n.); originally "to make use of;" also in regard to mental and spiritual training. The sense of "engage in physical activity" is from 1650s. Also from late 14c. in the sense of "train, drill, discipline, educate (someone); develop (a skill) by practice." Related: Exercised; exercises; exercising.ETD exercise (v.).2

    exert (v.)

    1660s, "thrust forth, push out," from Latin exertus/exsertus, past participle of exerere/exserere "thrust out, put forth," from ex "out, from within" (see ex-) + serere "attach, join; arrange, line up" (from PIE root *ser- (2) "to line up"). Meaning "put into use" is 1680s. Related: Exerted; exerting.ETD exert (v.).2

    exertion (n.)

    1660s, "act of exerting," from exert + -ion. Meaning "vigorous action or effort" is from 1777.ETD exertion (n.).2


    ancient English city, county town of Devon, Old English Exanceaster, Escanceaster, from Latin Isca (c. 150), from Celtic river name Exe "the water" + Old English ceaster "Roman town" (see Chester).ETD Exeter.2

    exeunt (v.)

    stage direction, late 15c., from Latin, literally "they go out," third person plural present indicative of exire (see exit).ETD exeunt (v.).2

    exfoliate (v.)

    1610s, transitive, "to cast off, shed" (a surface); 1670s, intransitive, "to separate or come off in thin, leaf-like layers;" from Late Latin exfoliatus, past participle of exfoliare "to strip of leaves," from ex "off, out of" (see ex-) + folium "leaf" (from PIE root *bhel- (3) "to thrive, bloom"). Related: Exfoliated; exfoliating.ETD exfoliate (v.).2

    exfoliation (n.)

    1670s, "a scaling or peeling off, the act or process of exfoliating," noun of action from past-participle stem of Latin exfoliare "to strip of leaves" (see exfoliate).ETD exfoliation (n.).2

    exhale (v.)

    c. 1400, exale, transitive, originally of liquids, perfumes, the breath of life, etc., from Old French exhaler (14c.) and directly from Latin exhalare "breathe out, evaporate," from ex "out" (see ex-) + halare "breathe." Of living things, "to breathe out," 1580s transitive; by 1837 intransitive. Related: Exhaled; exhaling.ETD exhale (v.).2

    exhalation (n.)

    late 14c., "act of exhalation; that which is exhaled," from Latin exhalationem (nominative exhalatio) "an exhalation, vapor," noun of action from past-participle stem of exhalare "to breathe out" (see exhale).ETD exhalation (n.).2

    exhaust (v.)

    1530s, "to draw off or out, to use up completely," from Latin exhaustus, past participle of exhaurire "draw off, take away, use up, empty," from ex "off" (see ex-) + haurire "to draw up" (as water), from PIE *heusio- "to scoop." Meaning "make weak or helpless, as by fatigue" is from 1630s. Related: Exhausted; exhausting; exhaustible.ETD exhaust (v.).2

    exhaustion (n.)

    1640s, "fatigue," noun of action from exhaust (v.) in sense of "drawing off" of strength. The etymological sense "act of drawing out or draining off" is by 1660s in English.ETD exhaustion (n.).2

    exhaust (n.)

    "waste gas," 1848, originally from steam engines, from exhaust (v.). In reference to internal combustion engines by 1896. Exhaust pipe, which carries away waste gas or steam from an engine, is by 1849.ETD exhaust (n.).2

    exhausted (adj.)

    mid-17c., "consumed, used up;" of persons, "tired out," past-participle adjective from exhaust (v.). Related: Exhaustedly.ETD exhausted (adj.).2

    exhaustive (adj.)

    "tending to exhaust all parts or phases, thorough," especially of a writing or speech which leaves no part of its subject unexamined, 1789, from exhaust (v.) + -ive. Related: Exhaustively; exhaustiveness.ETD exhaustive (adj.).2

    exhibition (n.)

    early 14c., "action of displaying," from Old French exhibicion, exibicion "show, exhibition, display," from Late Latin exhibitionem (nominative exhibitio), noun of action from past-participle stem of Latin exhibere "to show, display, present," literally "hold out, hold forth," from ex "out" (see ex-) + habere "to hold" (from PIE root *ghabh- "to give or receive"). Also from early 15c. as "sustenance, food, source of support." Meaning "that which is exhibited" is from 1786.ETD exhibition (n.).2

    exhibit (n.)

    1620s, "document or object produced as evidence in court," from Latin exhibitum, noun use of neuter past participle of exhibere "to display, show," "to show, display, present," literally "hold out, hold forth," from ex "out" (see ex-) + habere "to hold" (from PIE root *ghabh- "to give or receive"). Meaning "object displayed in a fair, museum, etc." is from 1862. Transferred use of exhibit A "important piece of evidence" is by 1906.ETD exhibit (n.).2

    exhibit (v.)

    "offer or present to view," mid-15c., from Latin exhibitus, past participle of exhibere "to hold out, display, show, present, deliver," from ex "out" (see ex-) + habere "to hold" (from PIE root *ghabh- "to give or receive"). Related: Exhibited; exhibiting.ETD exhibit (v.).2

    exhibitionist (n.)

    1821, "one who takes part in an exhibition;" psychosexual sense is from 1893, in Craddock's translation of Krafft-Ebing; see exhibition + -ist. Related: Exhibitionism (1893); exhibitionistic (1909 as "proper to or suitable for an (art) exhibition"). Exhibitioner is from 1670s in the English university sense.ETD exhibitionist (n.).2

    exhibitor (n.)

    1650s (as exhibiter, 1590s), from Late Latin exhibitor, agent noun from past-participle stem of Latin exhibere "to display, show" (see exhibition).ETD exhibitor (n.).2

    exhilarate (v.)

    "to make cheerful, lively, or merry; render glad or joyous," 1530s, from Latin exhilaratus "cheerful, merry," past participle of exhilarare "gladden, cheer," from ex "out, out of; thoroughly" (see ex-) + hilarare "make cheerful," from hilarus "cheerful" (see hilarity). Related: Exhilarated; exhilarating.ETD exhilarate (v.).2

    exhilaration (n.)

    "act of enlivening or cheering; state of being enlivened or cheerful," 1620s, from Late Latin exhilarationem (nominative exhilaratio) "a gladdening," noun of action from past-participle stem of exhilarare "gladden, cheer," from ex "out, out of; thoroughly" (see ex-) + hilarare "make cheerful," from hilarus "cheerful" (see hilarity).ETD exhilaration (n.).2

    exhortation (n.)

    late 14c., exhortacioun, "incitement by means of argument, appeal, or admonition; the argument or appeal made," from Old French exhortacion and directly from Latin exhortationem (nominative exhortatio) "an exhortation, encouragement," noun of action from past-participle stem of exhortari "to exhort, encourage," from ex- "thoroughly" (see ex-) + hortari "encourage, urge" (from PIE root *gher- (2) "to like, want"). From early 15c. as "speech for the purpose of exhortation."ETD exhortation (n.).2

    exhort (v.)

    c. 1400, exhorten, "to exhort, encourage," from Old French exhorer (13c.) and directly from Latin exhortari "to exhort, encourage, stimulate," from ex, here probably "thoroughly" (see ex-) + hortari "encourage, urge" (from PIE root *gher- (2) "to like, want"). Related: Exhorted; exhorting.ETD exhort (v.).2

    exhortatory (adj.)

    "of or pertaining to exhortation, tending incite by means of argument, appeal, or admonition," early 15c., exhortatori, from Late Latin exhortatorius, from Latin exhortari "to encourage, stimulate" (see exhort).ETD exhortatory (adj.).2

    exhume (v.)

    "to disinter that which has been buried," especially a dead body, early 15c., from Medieval Latin exhumare "to unearth" (13c.), from Latin ex "out of" (see ex-) + humare "bury," from humus "earth" (from PIE root *dhghem- "earth"). An alternative form was exhumate (1540s), taken directly from Medieval Latin. Figurative use by 1819. Related: Exhumed; exhuming.ETD exhume (v.).2

    exhumation (n.)

    "the act of disinterring that which has been buried," especially a dead body, 1670s, probably via French exhumation, from Medieval Latin exhumationem (nominative exhumatio), noun of action from past-participle stem of exhumare "to unearth" (see exhume). In earliest use often in a French context.ETD exhumation (n.).2

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